England in UAE 2011-12 January 31, 2012

The perils of being an England fan

It may have taken over two weeks but we have finally witnessed an English victory in the Emirates

It may have taken over two weeks but we have finally witnessed an English victory in the Emirates. Sadly it didn't come from our cricket side that had a proud recent record before a crazy two hours on the fourth afternoon. Our English victory came in the shape of Robert Rock who was victorious in the Abu Dhabi golf tournament on Sunday afternoon.

The day out at the golf was a bonus that has ensured my tour ended on a positive note. I wasn't the only one watching another sport to forget about the disappointment of the cricket. As I watched Tiger Woods just miss a bunker from the fourth tee, I found myself surrounded by half the Sky Sports commentary team. David "Bumble" Lloyd, always keen on a chat, quipped, "There are worse ways to spend a day off than this!"

I certainly wasn't in a positive mood whilst watching our chase. Watching from the stands as wicket after wicket fell, you had a sinking feeling that this was going to go down in folklore as one of England's worst displays. I expected a backlash after the Dubai performance, which Stuart Broad and Monty Panesar gave us, but sadly, our batsmen let us down again. It's a strange feeling watching your side capitulate under pressure, and by the time Jimmy Anderson was caught on the boundary to end the misery, I knew it was time to go home.

I've left the UAE with mixed feelings. On one hand the Abu Dhabi match was everything I look for in an overseas Test (minus the England second-innings collapse, of course). The Test itself couldn't have been much more dramatic, and to be played out in front of a large number of Pakistani expats made it feel like a proper sporting event.

On the other hand I am more than happy not to be returning to Dubai Sports City for the final match. Having time to reflect and look back after the success of the time spent in Abu Dhabi, Dubai really wasn't a great spectator experience. Perhaps the next match, which starts on a Friday, will have more support to create some sort of an atmosphere in what is undoubtedly one of my least favourite international venues. It's a shame a match couldn't have been scheduled in Sharjah, where Pakistan traditionally get good support.

For the time being for me it is back to the 5.30am alarm call and my widescreen television for the rest of this tour. Perhaps England will finally win a Test on this trip. The odds must have improved, given that one chap I met on the flight home has just completed his tenth Test match overseas spread over 14 years and has yet to see England win!

Perhaps that is what makes being an England fan so great. Even if the team wins, loses or draws, we keep coming back for more. Watching your cricket side abroad is a great experience. If there is anyone reading this that is thinking of doing it, go ahead and do it. Even if your team's top order keeps collapsing you'll have no regrets!

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